Have you ever had an experience that is so intensely emotional, hard to bear and yet, it has a sweet sweet ending. The kind of ending that you hope and pray for while you feel pain, anguish and uncertainty. The kind of ending that you can only see when you bear with patience and love. When you look back, you see how every experience made you appreciate the moment. It gave you a sweetness that you can only appreciate because of the bitterness of the process?
Foreshadowing my pregnancy
In Early 2021, my father floated an idea by me: Would I like to have more children? He regretted not having more kids. He wished he had more. I earnestly told my dad that I would love to, but I was not prepared to go through IVF again. I had already conceived 2 boys from IVF. It’s not only the physical struggle, but the emotional and mental experience was so intense. I thought my IVF journey was over
He’s a wise man. He didn’t push it. He simply acknowledged and accepted how I felt. Little did I know, he prayed for me to have a third miracle child.
A couple months later, my dad excitedly told me had a beautiful dream. He was holding a baby girl. It was my baby girl. A dream so distinct he described the baby girl to have a fair complexion and light brown hair. I smiled and told him that it was probably my niece, as my sister-in-law was pregnant at the time. But he was convinced it was my daughter.
A difficult road ahead
In early April, I was doing DIY in my garage. When I came inside, I checked my phone and saw 2 missed calls. One from my brother, and subsequently a min later, from my mom. When you see 2 back to back calls from your loved ones, you immediately know something is wrong. My heart sank as I called them back. My dad had a stroke.
Respecting his privacy, I won’t go into the details of his health. However, there was a lot of concerns about his prognosis. He was an elderly man who had already had a heart condition. A few days later, Ramadan started. As I began fasting for the first time in 4 years (being exempt from pregnancy and nursing), I reflected on the uncertainty of life. In Islam, we often say that you never know if you will be alive to enjoy the spiritual closeness of the next Ramadan. It is a blessing to be able to see the next Ramadan.
It was a true blessing to be able to fast and pray for my father’s health. It was so tough to have a loved one in the hospital with COVID. Given the high case count at the time, visitors were strictly limited. My mother was his visitor. My heart ached as I wanted to go see him. Be with him. Hold his hand and talk to him. I also wished I could give my mom a break as I know firsthand how intense it is being the primary care giver.
News of our Miracle baby
A few days into Ramadan, I got very very nauseous. My first instinct was that my best friend had accidentally given me food poisoning with the dinner she sent over the day before. I’m such a bad friend. I actually asked her if anyone got sick from her food. hahaha. A few days later, I was still feeling sick. I got to meet my new niece for the first time and my brother and sister-in-law were convinced that I was pregnant. At this point I had been nauseous for 4 days. I took a pregnancy test. When I saw the positive I just started laughing. I came out the bathroom laughing. It was disbelief. I already had 2 miracle IVF babies. I thought it was impossible to have another baby. I knew immediately, this baby was from my father’s prayers. I hadn’t prayed for this baby, but he had.
Given my history of irregular periods and the stress of my father’s health, we kept the news to ourselves for a few weeks. It was a hard time. I wanted to feel joy, but the situation sucked the joy out of me. How could I feel joy when the one person who has supported me, who has cheered me on in every situation, guided me, talked late nights, who embraced the man who wanted to marry me with open arms, who treats my children like royalty is the one person I can’t talk to. He was battling his own battle. I prayed for him. I prayed everyday that he would get to meet this baby. I feared he would pass without me getting to see him again. He was in the same area was me, but with COVID protocols, I couldn’t see him.
I tried to keep myself busy in the day. It wasn’t hard with 2 kids. I couldn’t hide the tears from my kids, and didn’t feel like I should. I wanted them to see the natural range of emotions. But the nights would come, and they were hard. I remember to many evenings where I would lay on couch in tears. I felt anger towards people who took COVID lightly. It was because of them and their carelessness that I couldn’t see my father. It wasn’t a good time for me.
The sweetest moment
After several weeks in hospital, my dad was released to go home. We went to visit him. He was sitting on a rocking chair. I fell to my knees and embraced him. In tears, I told him our news. His prayers were answered. I would have a 3rd child, God Willing, Inshallah. His eyes filled up with tears. It gave us all hope. Unfortunately that sweet moment was limited. His health was up and down and he was re-admitted to hospital.
Thankfully, Alhamdulliah COVID got a bit better. I was able to visit my father in hospital. It was a bleak time, but I would do as much I could to talk to him about the experiences we had to look forward to.
How I got through this time
I was fortunate to have the support of 4 amazing people. My husband had lost his father when he was younger. He didn’t get to share the joys of his life with his father. He didn’t see us get married, get to hold his first or second grandchild. That’s a void that will always follow my husband. His eldest sister supported me immensely in this time. She reminded me that my father lived a rich and full life. He had so many positive experiences. If he was to leave the Earth now, we would always remember the kind of life he had and the person he was.
One of my best friends was in a very similar situation to me. Her father passed away while she was pregnant. Speaking with her made me feel reassured that one day, I would be okay. She described the pain like waves. It comes and goes, it never goes away. If this baby didn’t get to meet my father here, they would meet in the transition between Earth and Heaven.
Then there was my own brother. He is a healthcare professional. He works at the hospital that my dad was admitted to. He spent so much time and energy on getting the best care for my dad. He spoke to my father’s care team. Stayed late at the hospital, all while he had a newborn at home. I truly believe that everything my dad did for us, my brother returned to my father.
What did my Miracle Baby teach me?
Time passes. Things never stay the stay. My father regained his strength. My prayer was answered. When I look back, it seems like a month pregnancy went by in a flash. When I was going through it, the days went by so slowly. He got to meet Sabrina. He adores her. The way he looks at her, smiles, talks to her – reassured me that there is good in this world.
Miracles happen. It’s not always as obvious, but it’s partly our outlook. My dad will never be the same, but we should appreciate what we have. I try to spend as much time with him as possible.
We will always go through challenges and struggles. When you’re going through them, it can feel hard to breath. It feels like your spirit is getting crushed. I know not all stories end this way with a positive ending, but I hope that reading this has given you some perspective that miracles happen. Hold on to your hope and faith. When you look back, you can write a beautiful story.